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PubMed; 2021.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-333683


Pregnant women appear to be at increased risk for severe outcomes associated with COVID-19, but the pathophysiology underlying this increased morbidity and its potential impact on the developing fetus is not well understood. In this study of pregnant women with and without COVID-19, we assessed viral and immune dynamics at the placenta during maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection. Amongst uninfected women, ACE2 was detected by immunohistochemistry in syncytiotrophoblast cells of the normal placenta during early pregnancy but was rarely seen in healthy placentas at full term. Term placentas from women infected with SARS-CoV-2, however, displayed a significant increase in ACE2 levels. Using immortalized cell lines and primary isolated placental cells, we determined the vulnerability of various placental cell types to direct infection by SARS-CoV-2 in vitro . Yet, despite the susceptibility of placental cells to SARS-CoV-2 infection, viral RNA was detected in the placentas of only a subset (~13%) of women in this cohort. Through single cell transcriptomic analyses, we found that the maternal-fetal interface of SARS-CoV-2-infected women exhibited markers associated with pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia, and robust immune responses, including increased activation of placental NK and T cells and increased expression of interferon-related genes. Overall, this study suggests that SARS-CoV-2 is associated with immune activation at the maternal-fetal interface even in the absence of detectable local viral invasion. While this likely represents a protective mechanism shielding the placenta from infection, inflammatory changes in the placenta may also contribute to poor pregnancy outcomes and thus warrant further investigation.

Managing Sport and Leisure ; 27(1/2):44-55, 2022.
Article in English | CAB Abstracts | ID: covidwho-1769075


This commentary offers an analysis of the implications of Covid-19 on the future of elite women's football, with the intention of reflecting on and illuminating the threat and uncertainty facing the game. Topics covered include (1) organisational and economic repercussions;(2) consequences for player contracts, migration and investment;and (3) player wellbeing. These significant challenges require swift and decisive action in order to mitigate their potential effects. Recommendations are made for governing bodies, parent clubs and practitioners, in addition to possible future research directions for academics. We reflect upon what can be done during and post-pandemic to continue the momentum and growth of women's football in England, highlighting the need for football clubs to learn from previous crises by embracing innovation and entrepreneurship.

Sport Business and Management-an International Journal ; ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print):20, 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1685044


Purpose Women's football faces an existential threat from COVID-19. Using case studies, the authors explore the COVID-19 responses of three highly ranked national football associations (Australia, England and the USA) and their professional women's football leagues to (a) compare and shed new insights into the wide range of phased responses and (b) establish recommendations for other nations to navigate major crises with their social and ethical responsibilities to women's football. Design/methodology/approach Drawing on institutional theory, a framework analysis was undertaken examining 71 articles to analyse the gendered global impacts of COVID-19 on women's football. Findings Results highlight several important recommendations for nations to consider during the pandemic: (1) maintain active communication with the community to allay worries about the future of women's football, (2) gather support from health and government officials, (3) seek out commercial and broadcasting partnerships to drive revenue, and (4) the interests of women's football are best served when responsibility for the elite women's league does not rest (solely) with national football associations. Social implications The authors argue that sport is an interwoven part of society and cannot be separated from gender equality issues irrespective of the pandemic. Originality/value The study is first to explore institutional pressures and football governing bodies during COVID-19 and provides a framework for nations to manage major crises.